Nothing says America like a wholesome state fair. And what’s more wholesome – or American – than filling your gullet with mounds of fried, sticky, salty, and/or sweet junk foods?
Beyond the carnival rides and the livestock judging contests, state fairs have always served as quasi-laboratories for American-style street food. In fact, the now-ubiquitous corn dog was first introduced to the public in the early 1940s at a state fair, though which one is still up for debate. The Texas State Fair, aka the “Fried Food Capital of Texas®”, and the Minnesota State Fair both lay claim to this distinctly American treat.
Each year, state fair food vendors try to outdo each other – and intrigue the crowds – with new belly-busting concoctions, usually inspired by local fare. For instance, dairy state Iowa features a deep-fried stick of butter at the Iowa State Fair, while the Texas State Fair has served up fried cookie dough and fried beer. The bigger and more artery-clogging the better when it comes to state fair foods. Here is just a sampling of some of the state fair foods Gadling found to be truly outrageous.
Starting today, Gadling is taking a look at our favorite festivals around the world. From music festivals to cultural showcases to the just plain bizarre, we hope to inspire you to do some festival exploring of your own. Come back each week for our picks or find them all HERE.
Each July, nearly 100,000 visitors descend on East Dublin, Georgia to participate in a one-of-a-kind event known as the Summer Redneck Games. This unique festival is a celebration of “all things Redneck” including special feats of athleticism, a variety of culinary treats and plenty of fun.
The story of the Redneck Games begins in 1996 before the Atlanta Olympics. After outsiders began making fun of “Rednecks” who were hosting the games, a group of volunteers decided to do something about it. Enterprising locals took critics’ remarks as a challenge, organizing their very own “Redneck Games” and agreed to donate the proceeds from the event to charity. In its inaugural year, more than 5,000 visitors showed up. The organizers knew they were on to something. Over the last decade, the Redneck Games have continued to grow, with participation reaching 95,000 rednecks during the annual one-day July extravaganza.
Much like the Olympic games, the Redneck Games hosts a number of challenging athletic events, but with a uniquely Redneck twist. Favorite contests include the Hubcap Hurl, the Bobbin’ for Pigs Feet Fest, Mud Wrestling, and a special contest called Redneck Horseshoes, which uses toilet seats in place of the standard iron game pieces. There’s also plenty of authentic Redneck foods for hungry spectators, including Corn Dogs, Alligator Kebabs and Elephant Ears. You’re also sure hear authentic Redneck slang like “y’all,” “fixin’ to,” “do what?,” and the all-time favorite (as coined by Redneck favorite, Larry the Cable Guy), “Git R’ Done!”
Though the Redneck Games would seem to be a decidedly local affair, it has slowly attracted fans from across the U.S. and around the world. As the event has become more popular, a steady stream of participants from “above the Mason-Dixon line” has joined in the fun, with events taking place as far away as Canada and a range of international media coverage.
There’s many misconceptions about the Games – critics decry the Redneck Games as nothing more than horseplay and drinking beer. But much like the comments the led to the event’s creation, event organizers and supporters have taken the remarks in stride. To its fans, the Redneck Games remain nothing but a silly, great time. Despite the increase in attendance and popularity, it remains much the same pure fun that it has always been.
Want to join in the craziness? Head down to Georgia this July 10th to check it out. Everyone is welcome – even Yankees…
Pair the words “fair food” with “stick,” and I think corn dogs. How pedestrian! How normal! How so early 1940s. That’s how long corn dogs have been fair food according to the corn dog history lesson at Food Services of America.
These days, the options for what you can lick, bite, chew, nibble or chaw on as you wander through the Midway or take in stellar entertainment options like pot-bellied pig races are dizzying. Here’s a video “Minnesota State Fair on a Stick” that serves as an ode to a summer and fall of not-so-healthy eating. The variety of people featured are as varied as the food. Unfortunately, this fair ended on Labor Day, but if you head to any fair or festival there’s bound to be food on sticks.